Vol baseball matches best start in school history

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (UT Sports) -- Tennessee picked up a doubleheader sweep on Saturday to finish the Cox Diamond Invitational with a perfect 3-0 record.

The Vols earned wins over North Florida (10-2) and Western Kentucky (6-3) to improve to 12-0 on the season, tying the program record for the best start in program history, matching the 2014 team's historic start.

GAME 1: Tennessee 10, North Florida 2
The Vols came out swinging in Game One of Saturday's doubleheader against North Florida, plating three runs in the top of the first inning en route to a 10-2 victory.

Justin Ammons and Jay Charleston sparked the offense at the top of the lineup, combining for five hits, three runs and five RBI. Luc Lipcius also had a strong game at the dish, going 2-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. The junior first baseman also blasted a solo home run in the second.

Zach Linginfelter put forth another dominant performance on the mound with eight strikeouts in seven innings of work. The powerful right hander gave up two runs on four hits and walked just one to improve to 3-0 on the season.

Alerick Soularie doubled to right center to score Ammons and Charleston before Evan Russell scored on a Connor Pavolony sacrifice fly to give UT an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first.

Lipcius made it 4-0 with a towering solo home run over the right-field fence to lead off the second, his second long ball of the season.

The Ospreys answered back with a home run of their own in the bottom of the second. David Maberry sent a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left for a two-run homer to cut the lead in half.

UT continued the back-and-forth with two more runs in the third to extend the lead back to four. After back-to-back two-out walks by Lipcius and Jake Rucker, Ammons came up big with his second hit of the day, a two-run single to center field to make it 6-2.

A sacrifice fly by Ammons and a bases-loaded walk by Charleston helped the Vols put up another two-spot in the fifth and extend their lead to six. The Vols added two more runs in the eighth to cap off the scoring.

GAME 2: Tennessee 6, Western Kentucky 3 (7 Inn.)
Tennessee scored all six of its runs in the second inning to finish off a perfect weekend with a 6-3 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday night.

Seven of UT's starters recorded a hit in the win with Evan Russell leading the way, finishing with two hits, including his team-leading seventh double of the year.

The Hilltoppers struck first with a two-out RBI single by Jackson Swiney in the top of the second. Matt Phipps scored on the play after leading off the inning with a single and stealing second to move into scoring position.

The Vols didn't waste any time erasing the deficit as Luc Lipcius continued his huge day with a mammoth three-run homer to right-center field to put the Big Orange ahead 3-1. It was the second homer of the day for Lipcius and his third of the year. The junior slugger went 3-for-6 with four runs, two homers and four RBI combined in UT's two wins on Saturday.

The Orange and White took advantage of two throwing errors by the Hilltoppers' catcher to score three more runs in the inning and take a commanding 6-1 lead.

WKU chipped away at the lead with a pair of solo home runs by Davis Sims and Jake Sanford in the third and sixth innings but were held at bay for the most part by Vols' starter Will Neely.

The senior right hander earned his second win of the year and tied a career high with six strikeouts on the night. The Knoxville native allowed three runs on five hits and walked one in six innings of work.

Redshirt sophomore lefty Redmond Walsh worked around a leadoff single in the seventh to earn his third save of the season.

NOTABLE
VOLS TIE BEST START IN PROGRAM HISTORY: With Saturday's doubleheader sweep, Tennessee improved to 12-0 to start the year. That is tied for the best record to start a season in program history, matching the 2014 squad's 12-0 start.

Tennessee has been dominant during its 12-game winning streak, posting six shutouts and outscoring its opponents 82-12.

LIPCIUS TWINS LEADING THE WAY: Twin brothers Luc and Andre Lipcius have been two of the Vols most productive hitters so far this season. The Lipcius twins are tied for the team lead with 10 RBI apiece while Luc leads the team with three home runs and Andre is tied for second with two four baggers.

After having just three hits and scoring only four runs last season, Luc has been on an absolute tear to start the season. The Williamsburg, Va., native currently leads the team with three homers, 10 RBI and ranks second on the squad with 11 runs and 12 hits with a slash line of .324/.435/.703.

UP NEXT: The Big Orange continue their road trip with another neutral-site game on Tuesday against Troy in Hoover, Ala. The Vols and Trojans will face off at the Hoover Met, which is the site of the SEC Tournament every year. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET.